Skip to main content

Advocates in Action: An Unforgettable Birthday

By June 13, 2024Blog

Our TFI Advocates connect churches and agencies to one another. They develop trusted relationships with an agency in their community by listening and learning. They then work with local church leaders, pointing out ways a church can utilize their gifts by coming alongside the needs of the agency.

Today, I want to share a beautiful story from the work of one of our Advocates in Kentucky.

In this story, you’ll hear about a young girl who was brought into foster care, but the agency couldn’t find a foster family to take her in. During the search for an open home for her, she was going to spend her 13th birthday at a foster care agency. Can you imagine? She didn’t have people to set up balloons, sing “Happy Birthday,” or to celebrate her life. But her story takes a heartwarming turn when a local church steps in to make it an unforgettable day for her.

This story is a reminder of why connecting churches and agencies matters deeply, and how a simple act of kindness can bring a deep sense of belonging. I am so proud of each of our Advocates, and stories just like this one make me so grateful for the work we get to do!

Watch the full story:

Curious about exploring how you could get involved in work just like this? Until the end of June, applications are open to become a TFI Advocate right in your local community. Don’t miss this opportunity! Get the details and apply here.

Alone, But Not Forgotten

This soon-to-be-teenager had been spending her nights sleeping at the office of the Department for Community-Based Services in the Northern Bluegrass Region because there was no foster family to take her in.

But this morning was different. Today was her 13th birthday. There was no one around to mark this occasion with her. No balloons. No presents. No family around to sing “Happy Birthday.”

It was then that Kelly Skerchock, Service Region Administrator, knew she had to do something. But with 12 counties and over 400 staff members to manage, Kelly had no time and no resources to make today special for this sweet girl.

An Unforgettable Birthday

I’ll call Tiffani. Maybe she can do something.

The thought came out of thin air, but Kelly knew it probably came from God. She responded to the thought and filled Tiffani Saltsman, their local TFI Advocate, in on the situation.

Tiffani sprang into action. The thought of this girl spending her birthday alone was unthinkable. She immediately arranged for her husband to watch their children while she called the parents of the girls she taught in a small group at church.

Within a matter of hours, they had pulled together all the makings of a great party, with most important–people to share the day with. Decorations, unicorn glasses, glow sticks, and a dance party playlist came together. They showed up at the office to celebrate her life and throw a birthday party to make this day as special as possible.

Take Action

Stories just like this one are only possible because of relationship and trust, built through supporting with the small day-to-day needs that lead to significant needs being met like this one. Individuals took the time to notice a need and willingly gave of their resources. It takes someone intentionally equipped and positioned to bridge the gap between the foster care community and the church. That’s why our TFI Advocate role exists.

Are you being called to step into this work? Until the end of the month of June, applications are open to become a TFI Advocate right in your local community. TFI Advocates develop trusted relationships with an agency by listening and learning. They then work with church leaders, pointing out ways the church can best utilize their gifts and resources by coming alongside the agency.⁠

If you are someone who loves Jesus, wants to show His love to others, and wants to encourage workers in local foster care agencies, then you may be a perfect fit to become a TFI Advocate. You can learn more and apply to become a TFI Advocate here.

Know anyone else who may be a great fit for a role like this? Share this story with them!

This story was originally shared in our free, 4-part video series: Foster Care & The Church. This toolkit is designed for use by churches to create a foundation of understanding how churches can make a difference in connection to the foster care community, embracing the compassionate and service-oriented teachings of Jesus. This kit has everything you need to see your church community begin engaging in meaningful ways with those impacted by foster care.

Jami Kaeb

Jami is the Founder and Executive Director of The Forgotten Initiative. Adoption, foster care, and advocacy were not part of Jami’s dreams for her life, but God changed her heart when He made her aware, and she is passionate about helping others become aware too! She and her husband Clint are parents to their seven children (five through adoption).

Get encouragement and updates in your inbox.

Be the first to know about new episodes, posts, resources, and stay in the loop about what’s coming up.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

You Might Also Enjoy:

5 Truths for Foster Dads to Remember

| Blog | No Comments
Being a foster dad is the most beautiful opportunity to invest in the lives of children who come from hard places. It’s a rewarding, exciting, and purpose-filled experience. But it’s also really hard...

Stepping Forward Scared: Trusting God During Seasons of Change

| Blog | No Comments
How often do we respond to God's prompting with all the reasons we should say no? If you’re anything like me, more often than you would like.

What to Do When You Feel Unappreciated and Unimportant

| Blog | No Comments
Have you ever been handed a decision that you want to say, “wait, shouldn’t I have a say in this?” I have valuable thoughts to add before you make these changes in the case. I…